We want your news! Send us: News release |Letter to the Editor | Share a picture | Newborn | Birthday | Engagement | Wedding | Other Milestone
Today







Oswego Hospital Holds Yearly Decontamination Drill

OSWEGO, NY – This time, it was just a drill. However, it is training that allows Oswego Hospital and its partners the experience to handle any sort of real-life emergency.

After coming out of the decontamination shelter, a victim has her vitals checked.

After coming out of the decontamination shelter, a victim has her vitals checked.

“It is well documented that a large percentage of victims involved in a chemical incident will self-report to a hospital. Being able to provide essential decontamination prior to their entry into the community hospital is a must for continued hospital operations,” according to Paul Vandish, Oswego Health director of quality and risk management, and a member of the hospital’s Decon Team. “Exercises like this require extensive pre-planning and coordination. However, the time spent upfront with plan design and actual testing of our plan make us that much more efficient and effective should a real event occur requiring our response.”

The annual drills are a learning opportunity for hospital staff to examine the unique aspects of responding to potential intentional and non-intentional chemical incidents “and to make improvements to our plans as needed,” he added.

Friday’s exercise focused primarily on the hospital’s ability to effectively respond to incidents that involve large numbers of contaminated patients self-reporting to the hospital.

An actual event may involve either an intentional or non-intentional release of a chemical substance in the community that results in many individuals being exposed, Vandish explained.

If someone were to walk into the lobby (or Emergency Department) complaining of being exposed to unknown chemicals, “We’d lock down the place immediately,” Vandish told Oswego County Today. “It takes us about 20 minutes to set up the portable decontamination shelter. That’s why we do these drills – we want to get better, faster. The training helps us understand what needs to be done in certain situations.”

This year’s fictitious scenario involved several students that were attending an outdoor concert near West First Street in Oswego. A truck driver transporting 55-gallon drums of a hazardous chemical was traveling west on Bridge Street.

According to the mock incident, he suddenly lost control of the truck, skidded and overturned at the southwest corner of West First and Bridge streets. The integrity of the drums is compromised and the liquid contents were dispersed on numerous individuals attending the concert.

Although no apparent physical injuries are noted, several of the concert-goers began experiencing symptoms that included coughing, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, irritation (nose, throat, airways) dizziness, weakness and headache.

A victim in a wheelchair is assisted during the drill.

A victim in a wheelchair is assisted during the drill.

Rather than wait for emergency services personnel to respond to the scene, the frightened, anxious and sickened teens decide to immediately report directly to the hospital.

The hospital’s planned response included activating the trained Decon Team dressed with appropriate protective suits, installing a portable decontamination shelter and effectively processing victims through the decontamination process.

Staff members from the Oswego County Health Department are also participating in the response efforts.

The more than 60 “victims” were members of the Oswego County BOCES’ New Vision class.

Suzie Hillenbrand of Pulaski High School said, “This was very realistic and kind of scary. They’re all dressed up (in the haz-mat suits).”

Brittanie Edick, also of Pulaski, agreed. “Everyone treated this as if it was the real thing. It was very realistic. The training helps everyone to know what to do if this really happens sometime.”

Kelsey Prye, also of Pulaski, said she was glad to have the opportunity to take part in the drill.

“It is important for them to train for a situation like this. You never know when it might happen,” she said. “It is kind of scary to see all these people dressed up like this. It’s something you don’t see all the time. This drill helps teach everyone what is going on and how to deal with it.”

“It was fun and helpful. I really enjoyed being part of the drill,” said Stephen Richmond of Oswego High School. “It was like going through a real decontamination process. I think it’s important that the hospital does this. I’m glad I was part of it.”

“This is something that a lot of people don’t get to do,” agreed Prye. “It was definitely crazy, we didn’t even know what we were getting into until we got briefed this morning. It was very realistic and everyone took it very seriously.”

The drill was to be observed and evaluated by representatives from the New York State Department of Health, the Oswego County Fire Coordinators Office, Oswego County Emergency Management Office, Upstate Regional Resource Center and members of the Oswego City Fire Department.

As part of the exercise, Oswego Hospital’s response to the incident will be examined and evaluators will offer comments.

Vandish said it is important for the hospital to be able to respond to all sorts of emergency events.

Members of the decon team assist a victim that passed out before getting to the decontamination shelter.

Members of the decon team assist a victim that passed out before getting to the decontamination shelter.

“We can’t always rely on having outside assistance. These drills are a learning experience for all involved,” he told Oswego County Today. “As we’ve seen from various events across our nation, all kinds of events have occurred. We need to be prepared for worst case scenarios.”

“We’ve learned a lot over the years from these drills. Every year we have new teams. New people are getting the training, the experience they need to handle these types of events,” he continued. “We want them to learn the basics of decontamination so that it is second nature to them. We have learned a lot but there are still some things we want to do in the future. Exercises like this require extensive pre-planning and coordination. The time spent up front with plan design and actual testing of our plan make us that much more efficient and effective should a real event occur requiring our response.”

An “after action” report and improvement plan with recommendations will be prepared for future training, equipment and response procedures.

Emergency Preparedness Drill Earns Good Grades

Nicholas Cafalone, Contributing Writer

VOLNEY, NY – A public briefing was held at the Joint Operations Center in Volney to wrap up a three-day exercise to check preparedness at the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant.

Representatives from the FitzPatrick nuclear plant, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) were present at the public briefing.

Representatives from both FEMA and the NRC gave PowerPoint presentations about what each agency did during the exercise to check the preparedness of the nuclear plant.

“It was a three-day exercise, with a lot of participation from a lot of different agencies,” said Rebecca Thomson, the regional assistance committee chairperson for FEMA.

Participants in the exercise included county, state and federal agencies.

“A great many county agencies participated as they always do. There is always enthusiastic participation by the counties and it’s always very impressive,” said Thomson.

She added that the involvement of a number federal agencies is not always the case.

FEMA’s investigation team consisted of 38 individuals.  During an exercise FEMA uses a list of criteria to check that includes six main areas and 33 sub-criteria so that they can check things to fine degree.

The exercise consists of three different phases to evaluate preparedness and response to an accident.  The first phase is the plume phase, then the ingestion and then the recovery phase.

“We also went to the Emergency Alert System station (WSYR) to make sure they knew how to receive the message and then disseminate in the right amount of time and make sure it was accurate,” added Thomson.

“Overall, our conclusion is this was a successful exercise. Proactive and knowledgeable participants, a lot of enthusiasm and everybody took it very seriously,” said Thomson. “The lessons learned will help improve capabilities.

Thomson added that there were no serious issues identified and that FEMA’s official report will be available within 90 days.

Senior Emergency Preparedness Inspector of Region Four of the NRC Steve Barr added that the exercise was adequate and demonstrated compliance with the NRC.

The NRC checks against previous inspections to ensure improvements were made.

Within 45 days, the NRC report of the exercise will be available.

Sea Cadets To Hold Monthly Drill

OSWEGO, NY – The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corp Truxtun DDG-103 Division in Oswego will hold its monthly drill May 14 and 15 at the McCrobie Building, 41 Lake St.

The drill will be from 0700 (7 a.m.) May 14 until 1600 (4 p.m.) May 15.

Anyone interested in joining the Sea Cadets or obtaining information is encouraged to attend a scheduled open house on May 14 at 9 a.m.

As part of the open house questions will be answered following a short film presentation about The Sea Cadet program.

For more information about Navy Leaguers and Sea Cadets, contact LT Hoffman, USNSCC at 315-591-0000, or e-mail hoffhock@sonicnet.net

This is a very educational program for youth between the ages of 10 and 18.

The Sea Cadet program builds strong morals teaches leadership and teamwork.

Each cadet can train and learn many professions such as what it takes to be an airman, a photo journalist, to be in the medical and law enforcement fields, as well as training locally with the U.S. Coast Guard in Oswego.

At this time, the Sea Cadets program a division of the Navy supported also by the Coast Guard sponsored by the Navy League would like to salute our armed forces serving in the Mideast and around the world.

Naval Sea Cadet Drill Planned

OSWEGO, NY – The US Naval Sea Cadet Corp Truxtun DDG-103 Division will hold its monthly drill on Aug. 14 and 15 at the McCrobie Building, 41 Lake St.

The drill will be from 0700 (7 a.m.) Aug. 14 until 1600 (4 p.m.) Aug. 15.

Anyone interested in joining the Sea Cadets or obtaining information is encouraged to attend an open house Aug. 14 at 9 a.m.

As part of the open house questions will be answered following a short film presentation about the Sea Cadet program.

For more information about Navy Leaguers and Sea Cadets, contact LTjg  George Hoffman USNSCC at 315-591-0000 or email hoffhock@sonicnet.net

This is a very educational program for youth between the ages of 10 and 18.

At this time, the Sea Cadets program division of the Navy sponsored By the Navy League would like to salute our armed forces serving in the Mideast and around the world.

Oswego Hospital Holds its Annual DeCon Drill

Oswego Hospital recently held its annual decontamination drill in front of the healthcare facility. The drill was observed by city, county and state officials. Playing the role of the victims were students for Oswego County BOCES New Vision Allied Health Program. Pictured at left, is Karlie DeCarolis, a New Vision student from Sandy Creek, who as part of the drill’s scenario brought a baby to Oswego Hospital that was unable to breathe. A doll was used during the drill. At right is Vicki Barry, medical affairs coordinator.

Oswego Hospital recently held its annual decontamination drill in front of the healthcare facility. The drill was observed by city, county and state officials. Playing the role of the victims were students for Oswego County BOCES New Vision Allied Health Program. Pictured at left, is Karlie DeCarolis, a New Vision student from Sandy Creek, who as part of the drill’s scenario brought a baby to Oswego Hospital that was unable to breathe. A doll was used during the drill. At right is Vicki Barry, medical affairs coordinator.

Oswego Hospital put its chemical decontamination plan to the test during a drill observed by city, county and state officials on September 18 in front of the healthcare facility.

The drill’s fictitious scenario involved high school students attending a sporting event at a park when an explosion occurred in a nearby storage shed. While there were no physical injuries due to the simulated explosion, several students experienced symptoms that included difficulty breathing and swallowing, stinging and tearing of the eyes, stomach nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, weakness and headache.

Under the drill, rather than wait for emergency services personnel to respond to the scene, the frightened, anxious and sickened individuals decide to immediately report directly to Oswego Hospital.

Playing the role of the victims were students for Oswego County BOCES New Vision Allied Health Program. About 32 students from throughout the county role played throughout the drill.

Coordinating the drill was Paul Vandish, Oswego Health Director of Quality and Risk Management. Assisting in the drill were some 40 staff members from numerous hospital departments. “Once again our decontamination drill team demonstrated how well prepared we are as a facility to respond to this type of event if it were to occur in our community,” Vandish said. “I’m proud of all of our staff members that come together each year to support our efforts to improve our facilities emergency preparedness programming”.

Among those evaluating the drill was Anne Ryan, Upstate Regional Response Coordinator. “The drill looked very good,” she said. “The responders are very well trained and know their roles. They moved the victims smoothly and effectively.” She oversees the drills of 22 hospitals in a 13-county area.

Oswego Healthcare system includes the Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, a skilled nursing facility; Springside at Seneca Hill, a retirement living community; an urgent care center in Fulton, as well as health services centers in Mexico, Parish and now Phoenix. For more information, call (315) 349-5500 or visit oswegohealth.org.

Oswego Hospital to Conduct Decontamination Drill

Oswego Hospital will hold a chemical decontamination drill on Friday, September 18th outside on the West Sixth Street side of the hospital.

This annual exercise is designed to test the adequacy of Oswego Hospital’s decontamination plan and the overall performance of the hospital’s trained responders for an incident involving chemically contaminated patients.

“This drill helps us be prepared for a variety of emergencies that could happen in our community,” said Paul Vandish, Oswego Hospital’s Director of Quality and Risk Management.

Acting as victims during the exercise will be Oswego County BOCES New Vision students.

The drill will be observed and evaluated by members of the Oswego City Fire Department and representatives from the New York State Department of Health, the Oswego County Fire Coordinators Office, Oswego County Emergency Management Office as well as the Oswego County Health Department.

Following the exercise, the observing agencies will review the drill. An After Action Report and Improvement Plan with recommendations will be prepared for future training, equipment and response procedures.

Oswego Healthcare system includes the Oswego Hospital, The Manor at Seneca Hill, a skilled nursing facility; Springside at Seneca Hill, a retirement living community; an urgent care center in Fulton, as well as health services centers in Mexico, Parish and now Phoenix. For more information, call (315) 349-5500 or visit oswegohealth.org.

It Was Just A Drill – This Time

OSWEGO, NY – Nearly 50 New Vision medical students helped train members of Oswego Hospital’s staff on Friday.

The annual drill was held outside the hospital’s West Seventh Street emergency entrance. It is designed to test the adequacy of the hospital’s decontamination plan and the over all performance of its staff for an incident involving chemically contaminated patients, according to Paul Vandish, the hospital’s chief Quality/Risk/Compliance Officer.

A "victim" is washed down by a hospital staff member dressed in protective gear.

A

The exercise revolved around several students and some adults that attending an event at a school auditorium. At some point during the event, “suddenly and unexpectedly several rapid popping sounds were heard; the source couldn’t be determined,” explained Marion Ciciarelli, public relations manager for the hospital.

According to the scenario, several of the attendees began to experience symptoms including tearing, redness, pain, impaired vision, burning sensations on the skin and inside their nose and mouth, as well as soreness and reddening of the skin.

Some are experiencing abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and difficulty breathing among other symptoms.

Most are coughing uncontrollably and gagging and have a noticeable white powder residue on their skin and clothes. All are weak but able to walk.

Rather than wait for emergency services personnel to respond, they rush to Oswego Hospital.

Firefighters and a staff member of Oswego Hospital attend to a "victim" who wandered away from the decontamination site and collapsed.

Firefighters and a staff member of Oswego Hospital attend to a

Medical staff quickly erected two temporary structures; one a warm area to house the victims and the other a large shower unit.

Two by two the victims were taken through the shower. After they disrobed and their belongings sealed in plastic bags, they were sprayed with water to wash away the contaminant.

It is discovered that the “victims” have been exposed to oleoresin capsicum (a type of pepper spray).

In this case, the OC was discharged from a pepper gun similar to a paintball gun.

At the time of exposure, the source as well as the actual substance wasn’t immediately known.

At first glance, the signs of OC exposure are practically indistinguishable from those of nerve agents. Effects of pepper spray mimic many symptoms of chemical agents, such as nerve and choking agents, but without significant risk of death or permanent injury.

People exposed to OC experience a burning sensation particularly in the eyes, nose, mouth and throat. Severe pain and tearing may result in temporary blindness and breathing may become difficult as OC affects the respiratory system.

Patients should be decontaminated by removing contaminated clothing and flushing the exposed skin area with plain water.

Patricia Egan, director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, was impressed with the way the hospital staff conducted itself during the drill.

As part of the drill, the hospital's Decon Team had to deal with a "contaminated" mother and her baby.

As part of the drill, the hospital

“The teamwork was good,” she said. “They communicated with each other and the victims. That’s very helpful.”

Shayla LoBello, a student from Pulaski, was one of the “victims.”

She said she thought the drill was very realistic.

“It was pretty realistic, a very good experience. It’s good practice so if something does happen they will know what to do to take care of it,” she said.

Logan Lewis, another student, agreed.

The participants were very serious about what they were doing, he said.

“It was very realistic. Everyone did things very efficiently. They got (the victims) through quickly and sure we were all cleaned off,” he said. “They took it very seriously. They made sure we did everything as we should.”

“The scenario was we were all in the auditorium and all of sudden we heard some popping sounds and our eyes started burning, our skin started burning, too,” explained Alexis Ranous of OHS. “It was all handled very realistically.”

She noted they sprinkled baby powder on their skin to simulate where the OC was on their bodies.

The hospital’s planned response included activating the trained Decon Team, dressed in appropriate gear, setting up the site with a possible decontamination shelter and effectively processing the “victims” through the decontamination process.

Some of the "victims" came through the decontamination process on a stretcher.

Some of the

“The “victims/actors” included members of the BOCES’ New Vision Class, LPN Class and hospital staff and Oswego Fire Department.

All the students were given different parts to play.

The drill was observed and evaluated by the OFD and representatives from the NYS Department of Health, Oswego County Fire Coordinator’s Office, Oswego County Emergency Management Office, Oswego County Health Department, as well as other regional emergency preparedness coordinators.

The drill went rather well, Vandish said.

“It is well documented that a large percentage of victims that are involved in a chemical incident may self report to hospitals. Being able to provide essential decontamination prior to the entry into our community hospital is a must for continued hospital operations,” he pointed out. Exercises like this require extensive pre-planning and coordination. However, the time spent upfront with plan design and actual testing of our plan make us that much more efficient and effective should a real event occur requiring our response.”

It is a learning opportunity for the hospital staff to examine the unique aspects of responding to a potential intentional and non-intentional chemical and to make improvements on the plan as needed, he continued.

There are still things that have to be worked on; that’s the reason for holding such drills, to be able to know what the strengths and weakness are, he added.

The organizers tried to make it as realistic as possible for the hospital staff, he said.

There was a victim who came in with a baby, some victims fainted while waiting for treatment and needed to be taken through the decontamination process on a stretcher.

As part of the exercise, the hospital’s response was examined and evaluated.

An “After Action Report and Improvement Plan” with recommendations will be prepared for future training, equipment and response procedure, Vandish noted.

A member of Oswego Hospital's staff checks a "victim's" condition before sending him through the decontamination shower.</p>

A member of Oswego Hospital

“The critique of our drill went well. All of the evaluators that included our state, regional, county and city emergency preparedness partners were in agreement that our staff performed exceedingly well to respond to this ‘event,’” Vandish said. “Many referred to our response as a ‘well-oiled machine’ and indicated that the improvements we have made over recent years to our plan and the operational aspects of our response were apparent and very effective.”

“For its size, this hospital is A-1 as far as giving its act together for this sort of event,” Egan said. “They are quite prepared and there doesn’t seem to be any problems with their plan.”

The reason it was going so well, she said, was the fact the hospital isn’t afraid to challenege its staff every year with new and bigger challenges.

“This impresses me every time because I see them doing more bigger, difficult, uglier type incidents as part of the drill. They don’t allow the staff to get comfortable with just one incident – they continually challenge them to do more. Years ago, the first drill was a lot of new equipment and people in suits. Now, they’re really making them work. That’s what a drill is supposed to do, not just say, ataboy.’ It’ supposed to a test.”

But, Vandish added, the staff will continue to train to make sure they are prepared for any emergency.

“There are a lot of businesses and industries that use a host of chemicals,” Vandish noted. “The contamination could be unintentional or intentional. We have to train for all types of emergencies. We have to be well-trained, because you never know when something might happen.”

Smoke Filled Bus Training Provides Genuine Learning Experience for Oswego Drivers

Submitted article

</p>Smoke starts to overtake the Oswego City School District bus drivers as they experience the "smoke bus" during safety training.  Among the drivers experiencing the test were Kelly Stauring, Phyllis Myer, Stacy Sandler, Cindy Loughrey, Linda Bristol and Len VanBuren.

Smoke starts to overtake the Oswego City School District bus drivers as they experience the "smoke bus" during safety training. Among the drivers experiencing the test were Kelly Stauring, Phyllis Myer, Stacy Sandler, Cindy Loughrey, Linda Bristol and Len VanBuren.

Smoke began to roll from the back of the bus over the heads of passengers. It didn’t take very long for the visibility to be reduced to near zero as people began to find their way toward the emergency exits.

Fortunately, this scene didn’t involve any children and the smoke was non-toxic as Oswego City School District bus drivers, with assistance from the Oswego City Fire Department were  involved in a safety training course a the district transportation center.

Tom Gunn, Director of Transportation, said, “This is a perfect time for smoke bus training for our bus drivers.” He went on to explain, “Smoke bus training has the Oswego City Fire Department personnel simulating a smoke filled bus. Basically we are reviewing emergency exit proceedings in the event of a situation of that manner.”

Oswego Fire Department Assistant Chief Jeff McCrobie said, “This is a great simulation because we learn quite a bit in talking with Tom (Gunn) and the drivers on what their protocols are when there is a smoke situation or injury on a bus. We know what to expect and I will take that back and relay it to our personnel. This opens up a lot of eyes and this really reinforces the working relationships we have with the school district.”

Continuing he said, “It is going to provide a safer environment for the kids. The drivers now know what it is like to have smoke in a bus and know what to expect.”

McCrobie and Gunn watched as the bus packed with bus drivers as passengers began to fill up with smoke. McCrobie noted, “It is a non-toxic kind of vegetable oil smoke. We have a small smoke machine at the back of the bus and it will fill the bus quickly. The drivers really find out what the visibility is like on a bus in this type of situation.  They know that the number one priority in a situation like this is to get everyone safely off of the bus.”

He noted that the fire department doesn’t want the drivers to worry about putting a fire out. The key is to get children off the bus and move them a safe distance away.

After the evacuation the drivers had a second opportunity to walk through the bus again. The vehicle was filled with smoke and all walked through, feeling under the seats and then exited through the emergency door in the rear of the bus.

After the training the drivers went back inside for further safety review.

Gunn noted, “There are two state required meetings through the school year, but we take a proactive approach and have monthly safety meetings with our drivers reviewing policies and procedures.”

Drivers found out how it was like to be in a smoke filled bus and even though the non-toxic atmosphere wasn’t dangerous there were still anxious moments.

However, this was a genuine learning experience and the only damage done is that some of the drivers smelled like French fries due to the vegetable base.

The lessons learned at the safety session hopefully will never be needed with a smoke filled bus on the highway, but through the partnership and cooperation of the Oswego City Fire Department and the Oswego City School District Transportation Department the children will be safer.

Rescue Drill Sparks Painful Memories

OSWEGO, NY – For the dozen or so firefighters participating in a “Trench Rescue” drill recently, their minds were focused on the task at hand , considering perhaps some time in the future when they had to use these skills.

One of the onlookers, however, was transported nearly two decades into the past.

John Sawyer talks to the firefighters after the training exercise. Nearly 20 years, he pointed out, this was reality for him.Participants in the drill worked to free a more than 150-pound life-size dummy that was buried under hundreds of pounds of debris in tunnel near the city’s westside water treatment plant.

In July 1988, it wasn’t a mannequin; John Sawyer was basically buried alive in a trench collapse on the college campus.

He was in a trench between southeast corner of Hart Hall and Hewitt Union on the SUNY Oswego campus when it caved in around him.

“It was a steam line job that we were working on. I don’t really remember exactly what happened, except the line broke; I knew I was going to get burned, the only question was how bad,” he told the Daily News.

The accident cost him most of his left arm and some fingers on his right hand.

He doesn’t remember exactly how long he was in the trench.

A vac truck is used during the trench rescue drill to suction debris from the accident site.“I don’t remember much, except for a pain in my back and I couldn’t breathe very good at all,” he said. “They just didn’t have the equipment then that they have now.”

One thing he does remember is the rescuers were unsure of where his legs were.

“I was still basically covered up to my waist when the got me upright,” he explained. “They didn’t know if my legs went that way or that way or what. I was actually in a fetal position; they were right here in front of me.”

“I told them, get one guy on each arm and I’ll stand right up. And I did. I stood right up, I turned a little bit and I remember laying right back into the lap of the firefighter behind me,” he continued.

It took him about six months to recover, he said.

He said he still does just about everything he did before the accident except bowl.

“I was a leftie,” he explained. “I don’t bowl and I don’t play softball. But other than that, I do everything I did before. But I still go hunting; I use handguns, shotguns and rifles. I fish and I play golf, I made my own golf adapters to play with.”

During the drill, the firefighters used the vac truck, usually used to suck up leaves, to remove dirt from the trench as the rescuers cleaned away the dirt and stones with hand tools.

Once the “victim” was freed, his neck was stabilized and he was strapped to a stretcher as he was slowed extricated from the trench.

Richard Depasquale, FDNY, has been going around the state providing training for brother firefighters for nearly 10 years.

The other instructors included Don Snydier and Pete Benadento.

Participants in the drill remove the “victim” from the trench.When something goes wrong, this is what they’re going to do to save the victims, Depasquale explained.

Rescuers created a system to brace the walls of the trench to ensure there is no further collapse.

“We don’t want the rescuers to have more debris fall on top of them and create even more victims. This way we ensure their safety as they work to free the victims,” Depasquale said. “Actually, before this training, many rescuers would go in the hole and become part of the problem instead of the solution.”

Because the “victim” in the drill was located in an L-shaped area, it made the reinforcement a bit more complicated, Depasquale explained.

“State safety officials have been concerned about the fact that many injures and fatalities occur as the result of tunnel cave-ins,” he said.

The training program was designed to address that and make sure more people survived such an event.

“There has been a lot of education, such as Dig Safely NY, however, everybody doesn’t always do what they’re supposed to,” Depasquale added. “All around the state we’re getting calls more and more about trench collapses. Hopefully, due to this training, we will see more and more safe successful rescues.”

After watching the more than hour-long training session, Sawyer spoke to the participants about his experience.

“I just want to say thank you to you guys,” he told the firefighters. “Perhaps if they had the technology back then, I wouldn’t have been in such rough shape. I just want to say these guys are lifesavers. Anybody who complains that the firemen just sit around or anyone who wants to cut the fire department doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”

“Any time they want to have one of these exercises, I’ll be there to watch. And, I’ll bring anybody I can bring. The firefighters do their job phenomenally well. Anybody (complains) about firefighters and any overtime, well guess what? They’re (really) worth it, every penny of it!” Sawyer added.

“Some times, it’s tough to talk to these guys about this stuff,” he pointed out. “They know what it’s like and it’s just as tough for them as it is on the victims some time, you know?”

Sawyer still works for Environmental Health and Safety.

“I came to work out here, October 1977, right out of high school,” he said.

Search Our Archives:

Judge Todd to Defendant: Teen’s Confession Admissable

A confession allegedly made to state police by one of the teenagers accused of robbing and killing a Granby man can be used as evidence in a jury trial. In his decision, Judge Donald Todd said, “The court finds the defendant made his statements voluntarily and they were obtained in a manner that did not violate his state or federal constitutional rights.”

Continue reading


Beverly A. McKalsen, 87

Beverly A. McKalsen, 87, of Granby, passed away early Thursday morning July 31, 2014, at home with her family by her side.

Continue reading


Oswego County Postpones Aerial Spraying Tonight

Aerial spraying of the Toad Harbor / Big Bay Swamp area near the north shore of Oneida Lake is postponed tonight, Thursday, July 31, due to uncertain weather. The forecast indicates varied conditions, such as rain and wind speeds, that would hamper spraying efforts. Weather permitting, aerial spraying will take place tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 1 between 6 and 9 p.m.

Continue reading


DA: No Evidence Of Human Remains At Rice Road Site

The Oswego County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office have concluded their investigation at the property on Rice Road in the Town Of Mexico. While there was no reliable evidence indicating the property was related to the abduction of Heidi Allen, we conducted a thorough and exhaustive search of the property, the district attorney said. The Sheriff’s Department devoted considerable resources to this search and made every effort to discover and recover any remains that may have been there. There is no evidence that any human remains are or ever were at that site.

Continue reading


Award-winning Play Comes to Fort Ontario for One Performance Only

Bring the whole family to Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 E. Fourth St., Oswego, for a performance of “The Great Rope,” the award-winning play written by the late Rosemary Nesbitt of Oswego. The one-time-only show begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday. “We’ve put together a great group of children and adults from the community to help us bring this play to life again and honor Rosemary’s vision,” said director Jonel Langenfeld Rial, professor of theater and education in the SUNY Oswego Theater Department.

Continue reading



v3_2014_64